US agency, justice department file lawsuit against Denka
2 Mar 2023
Manufacturer had previously sued the EPA seeking a review of its toxicity assessment of chloroprene monomer
Washington – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US justice department have filed a complaint against Denka Performance Elastomer LLC.
The action is intended to compel the company to “significantly reduce hazardous chloroprene emissions” from its site in LaPlace, Louisiana, where it manufactures Neoprene-branded chloroprene rubber.
The complaint alleges that Denka’s emissions have led to “unsafe concentrations of carcinogenic chloroprene" near local homes and schools,” said associate attorney general Vanita Gupta 28 Feb.
In January, Denka announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the EPA in the US District Court for the District of Louisiana, seeking a review of the US agency’s toxicity assessment of chloroprene monomer. (see ERJ report)
Commenting on its latest legal move, EPA administrator Michale Regan claimed that Denka had not moved “far enough or fast enough” to reduce emissions or ensure the safety of the surrounding community.
According to the complaint, air monitoring conducted by both the EPA and Denka over the past several years “consistently shows long-term chloroprene concentrations in the air near Denka’s LaPlace facility.”
The levels, it said, are “as high as 14 times the levels recommended for a 70-year lifetime of exposure.”
The complaint also names DuPont Specialty Products USA LLC – the owner of the land beneath Denka’s facility and Denka’s landlord.
Accordingly, DuPont is “a necessary party to ensure there are no delays in any actions that Denka is ordered to take to reduce its chloroprene emissions.”